The river bounces along talking sweet murmurs and deeper down, escalating to a silence, inert and cold. I sit in the muddy banks, throwing stones into the water and watch them disappear clueless into the ashen grey, like a spine chilling mystery; sucked in by an astonishing power of absorption. Isn’t it a similar kind of gravity of the past that’s drawing me inside, to my inner layers that I have been desperately hiding away from?
I am not a woman who somebody would easily want for a wife. That was my husband’s last remark, when he was my husband.
“Jane, you are just not happening! Look at you. Now, why don’t you pump some life into your being?”
Now that I think of it, this was never how things began between us. Rosy, picturesque, dainty, and smooth – made for each other, we had imagined. But what we reaped in the end was disdain, hatred, repulsion, tough luck. All those happy moments were ephemeral that evaporated without a trace, to nothingness.
“I don’t for the life of me understand what you want,” I had screamed one day. “Walk around with dipping necklines, revealing thighs, party all time and smoke cigarettes offensively into faces? Is that what life is to you?”
“Come on Jane,” he roared, “That isn’t everything. But that, is also life. Is seclusion, quiet and mute arrogance all that there is in life for you?”
Petty fights weren’t real reasons why we separated. They were trivial, invented, to force a separation. We forced flaws, sharp divisions of attitude to merely get away. We were getting unbearable to each other, so I thought. I had all these days, tried running away from that one truth: What forced us to invent reasons? Was I so incapable of sustaining a relationship? Was I the reason for him to bring up reasons?
These have been days of emotional curfew. I wouldn’t cross the disturbing line, after which I would break down. “Why should I waste my tears for a heartless man?” I used to reason, but the reality was that I was running away from identifying myself, as possibly the core of the entire fault.
Ah, the travails of a wandering mind! I struggle to place the entire relationship and the events associated with it, under a surveillance system – my conscience. Where had it been all these days? Had I just snubbed it all those times when it rose before me to warn me of a possible breakdown?
“Let’s give ourselves some more time,” he had suggested and I had flatly refused to even lend an ear. What could you expect out of a heart that was fuming red with rage and obscene hatred?
“Don’t try to patch up things, Sam. I am tired of showing up this façade of loving you and living happily with you.You hate me, accept it and get done with me!” I had yelled.
“Jane, you are not a woman that someone would easily want to have for a wife,” he had shouted and walked out of the house. And with that he drew the final between us. Rather, it was I who forced him to face the severity of a separation.
Then, I had thought heavily about not compromising on my individuality. Why should I party and mix, when I don’t have the inclination to do it? Why should I stop doing what I love to do, when he doesn’t like it? Even the disappointment on his face wasn’t remedy to the selfishness that I was cultivating inside me. I could have at least tried out that day, couldn’t I? I could have at least made an attempt to set it all right. Give it some space, like he had said. Like I have today; I have worn the skirt that he so wanted me to wear then.
My love for him seems to have been locked away in unfathomable depths and I had let silly things come in between us only to realize that the love choked and died a silent death inside me, inside him, that the damage became irreparable. God damn, my murky, obscure attitude!
The sun has turned a dense ball of orange, and the sky a backdrop of shimmering gold. The water suddenly appears dyed orange, a flowing satin of orange. Time to leave, I decide and walk back, unmindful of the soggy mud. I turn and see that I have left a track of my footprints. These, I think, will be washed out in moments. I fervently hope that the ironies of life will brush aside too. Realization in itself is a big thing and it has begun today. I know I will learn to live, someday.